Disclaimer: We usually aren’t a big fan of doing things with short-term teams… we prefer long-term relationship based ministry which is pretty much impossible to do with a group of foreigners who don’t speak Thai that are only dropping in for a day or two… _Ok, so that’s our disclaimer. A few months ago we were contacted by Yonnie from_Iris Ministries (birthed out of Heidi and Rolland Baker’s work in Mozambique) about working with a short-term team Iris was bringing to Thailand to work with a number of different ministries, and maybe could they work with us to host a block party in our neighborhood? Iris has a reputation for seeing God show up in very tangible ways as they pray for people to be healed, and we thought it sounded like a pretty neat opportunity. So, we started asking our neighbors about how to throw a block party here and got hooked up with the Grandfather (Godfather?) of Sanam Luang – a delightful, shady, imp of a man who told us exactly what we needed to do, how much we should pay him to make the food happen, and how many people would actually be interested in God if we threw a party (he said 10% – which it turns out is pretty accurate!) So… After paying Grandfather for his time and effort and the food (unknowingly he asked for exactly what Iris decided to give), and changing the location, menu, and program from our initial plans (learn to listen to your neighbors Iven and Kashmira!) _approximately 300 people came to our “Block Party” this past Saturday (thanks in part to Grandfather’s deciding to print up his own flyers inviting people to the party). We ran out of food but the 250+ who got to eat said it was delicious. The Iris Ministries team shared some great dramas and led games, Baan Jai Diaow Ministry helped pass out invitations in the neighborhood and were treasured extra hands during the event, and and our wonderful friend P’ Noi brought an inspiring message about The Great Banquet (very appropriate in this context, considering that many of the neighbors who came to the party are homeless people who were gathered around eating together). _Lots of people experienced some physical healing through prayer ministry, and several made professions of faith. About 250 small gifts and invitations to the Monday night gathering were handed out and all around it was a fun time for everyone that participated. Thank you Yonnie and Iris – we’re so glad we decided to say yes to your team! Y’all rock! And yes, our neighbors did feel loved by you guys, even if you were only here for a little while! Thank you P’ Boy and BJD – couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you P’ Noi – you are amazing! Thank you Grandfather – you throw a great party!

Check out our friend Nok’s write-up on the event, and especially some of his stellar photos.

And perhaps even more exciting… On the following Monday, a core group of about 15 people with another 15 stragglers joined us in one of the only grassy corners of our neighborhood to sit on mats, play a game, hear about God’s Father heart of love for us all, and pray for each other. It was a very sweet and special time and we are hopeful that though it may take on many incarnations yet that this is the beginning of our local church here within our community. In the picture below Sam is sharing with the group:

So, disclaimers aside, we had a heck of a block party – a great time with a short-term team – and new and exciting things are happening in our neighborhood!